In early April, I lost my housekeepers, Luciana and Alain Matias. They moved back to Brazil. Actually, Luciana and the children, Edrey (15) and Alaiana (13) had gone back to Brazil ten months earlier. Luciana had taken the children in June 2009 because she wasn’t feeling healthy, and she needed to go to the doctor and get some tests done. Then, once she was out of this country, she found she couldn’t get a visa to come back.
So Alain stayed here, working, and trying desperately to get his family back to America. Eventually, though, the lawyers in Brazil reported that Luciana and the children weren’t getting visas anytime soon, so Alain had to return to Brazil, too.
Luciana and Alain are beautiful people, with gentle faces, sweet smiles and a strong, cheerful work ethic. They both have gorgeous singing voices and often I would come in the door and hear them singing hymns, the rhapsodies floating down the staircase from different parts of the house. On those days, my house felt like a cathedral.
In the last day Alain was here, I learned more about him than in the years he and Luciana worked in my house every week. As it turns out, Alain is a minister in the Assembly of God Church, and he has also invented ten industrial machines, including an industrial smoke & dust eliminator. He proudly showed me his very impressive website www.industrialmachinerycreations.com. I was ashamed I’d never asked about his life before.
Now Alain, Luciana and the kids are back in Goiania, Brazil, a city of 1.2 million people near Brasilia. The kids miss all their friends are here in Georgia, and I’m wondering if Alain will be able to sell his machines and how Luciana’s health is. Goiania is supposed to be pretty, but also a city of tremendous economic inequality. I guess the Matias family is getting used to that.
Before Alain left, I gave him $100 and told him I wanted to write about his family. I’m not sure what the answer is on the whole immigration question, but I do know one thing for sure. When we’re turning away wonderful, talented, hard-working, honest people with voices like angels — that can’t bode well for our future. America is so much better with the Matias family in it.